The world gearing up for digital economy

Walking through the exhibition held as part of the SAP Oman Forum was a look at the future. The future isn’t far, it’s rather the near future.
If technology has its way, the next time you go hunting for a new house, all you have to do is look at it on your phone and it will give you all details — from the area to the interiors.
It isn’t just an app. The facility goes further, said an expert from SAP on live banking. “If you need a loan, then it connects you to the bank. The bank officer on the other side can look at the building and also have a glimpse of the candidate’s profile via social media channels. So the officer can already analyse if the individual is a potential client.”
Another expert agreed soon there will not be any need for a separate IT department because most employees want to create their own analytics.
We have even begun to prefer shopping online. Window shopping continues to be fun even online. There is no driving, being stuck in traffic, spending money on petrol, walking in the mall (which is fun), or struggling to find parking space.
Young Omani tech talents are beaming with innovative ideas but there is another group on the other side of the scale. They are the ones with great amount of experience but are on the cross roads at a time when almost every aspect of business is going through a digital transformation.
Human psychology is difficult to change but even that maybe changing because within two weeks we have seen cases that have come up because individuals chose to express them on traditional and social media. One aired anger (that was more of a threat to a family member) on a local radio station, while another was having fun while speeding. That was also life threatening. It was life threatening for others, said the authorities.
These are new experiences. From now on, we should think about how we perceive our lives in the digital world. On the other hand, whether we like it or not, we are transforming ourselves in the digital economy. The need to stay connected has brought most of the people into the social media. Now, it is time to rethink what we post on social media. Somehow it has become an extension of our personality.
It is not just the employer who might make social media a part of the screening process but also the bank sector, real estate and so on. Would it reach the level of college admissions?
So have we been doing well? To that, two businessmen took turns to explain, “We are still attached to our old ways. Capacity-building is important, but companies sometimes do not see the money spent on the profit level so they do not want to invest on capacity-building. The results are not immediate and apparent at times.”
The other businessman said, “Sometimes, managements are not able to move away from paper to a paperless economy. We are still used to the concept of the original and a copy to back up.”
A third businessman questioned, “Do we want changes?”
Internationally, there is one more proof that change is arriving and that is with our humble handwriting. This week came the report that after 800 years, Cambridge University is considering typed exams instead of handwritten because students’ handwriting has worsened. We probably cannot blame the students who have been spending more time typing on laptops rather than writing down notes. I wish the art of handwriting is here to stay. Imagine if one day it becomes an exclusive art? You know which emoticon we would use to express that concern. It is a digital world.

Lakshmi Kothaneth
lakshmiobserver@gmail.com

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